NEW DELHI: In a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi over the JNU row, BJP chief Amit Shah today said he had "proved" that national interest had no place in his mind and asked if the Congress vice president had joined hands with separatist forces and wanted another division of India.
Speaking on the raging controversy for the first time, Shah asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul a host of questions and demanded that he apologise for his stand on the JNU issue, saying support to anti-national forces in the name of the Left's progressive ideology is not acceptable.
The BJP president's tough stand indicates that the party is willing to slug it out with Congress and other opposition parties over an issue it believes will help reaffirm its nationalist credentials and put the opposition in a corner. "An attempt was made to defame a leading university in the national capital by turning it into a centre which encourages terrorism and separatism. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi if it would be in national interest had the central government kept quiet?
"Are you not encouraging traitors by protesting in support of these anti-nationals?", Shah wrote in a blog. Noting that slogans like 'Pakistan zindabad', 'go India go back' and those in support of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Kashmir's independence and India's destruction were raised in JNU, he wondered if the Congress leader had joined hands with separatists.
"Does he want another division of India by giving a free run to separatists in the name of freedom of expression? The kind of statements the Congress vice president and other leaders of his party have made in JNU have proved again that national interest has no place in their mind," Shah said.
He said Congress was in despair and frustrated over the success of the Modi government and its leaders were unable to decide how they can play the role of a responsible opposition.
He claimed that Modi government has succeeded in "controlling anti-national sentiments" even in Kashmir but Congress was fuelling the "shameful incident" in JNU despite being the main opposition party.
"I seek answers from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to my questions on behalf of 125 crore countrymen and also demand that Rahul Gandhi apologise to the country for his action," he said.
Shah alleged that Rahul Gandhi "in his despair" was unable to distinguish between what is against national interest and what is in its favour and asserted that what happened in JNU could never be said to be in the interest of country.
He wondered if this was the definition of patriotism for him and accused him of showing insensitivity to the country's integrity by projecting "treason as student revolution" and action against this treason as suppression of the freedom of expression.
The Congress leader had visited the JNU campus on Saturday and hit out at the government over a student leader's arrest, virtually drawing a parallel of its conduct with the regime of Hitler and accusing it suppressing students' voice.
Hitting back, the BJP chief said the nearest independent India came to be identified with Hitler's Germany was when Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in 1975.
"Hitler-waad (Hitlerism) is in the DNA of Congress. BJP does not need to learn nationalism and democratic values from Congress. I want to asked Rahul Gandhi if 1975's Emergency defines the democratic values of his party and does he not recognise Indira Gandhi's mindset as that of Hitler?" he asked.
Ho noted that the accused students glorified Guru who was convicted in the case of Parliament attack in which six Delhi police personnel, two Parliament security personnel and a gardener had died.
"I will ask him if he will give a similar tribute to 10 soldiers, including Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, who sacrificed their lives in Siachen recently," he said.